Alfred Sant expected to win with
75 per cent of the vote
When Labour Party delegates are called to express their
vote on 15 May to select the person to lead the party, it is widely
expected that Alfred Sant will win but his vote will not be higher than
75 per cent.
The voting pattern for Sant, a far cry from the almost 100 per cent
approval in the 1998 post-election general conference, is expected to
send a message that the party needs a dramatic change.
The rest of the vote will be split half way between Anglu Farrugia and
John Attard Montalto. This was divulged to this newspaper after the
stormy meeting that kicked off last Monday and went on until the early
hours of Tuesday morning.
The two contestants to Harvard University graduate Alfred Sant may not
win the contest but may unknowingly dent the future status of Alfred
Sant, who has vowed to fight on despite his growing unpopularity.
Both contenders are emulating British Conservative politician Michael
Heseltine, who fought it out with Margaret Thatcher. Heseltine did not
win but effectively crystallised the beginning of the end of Thatchers
John Attard Montalto is considered to be an ideal candidate for the
middle class voters whereas Anglu Farrugia appeals more to the traditional
Labour voter. But both promise to change the party and take it out of
The Monday joint meeting between the national executive and the parliamentary
group was according to sources close to the inner core, stage managed
to allow John Attard Montalto to retreat into defence mode. The meeting
was full of flak in the direction of Attard Montalto and led to the
Sant clan coming together to query his true intentions.
Though no alliance exists between Attard Montalto and Anglu Farrugia
it is clear that their sacrifice in the leadership may open the way
for a future contestant or perhaps the return of George Abela, the charismatic
former deputy leader of the Labour party.
But yesterday a member present at the Monday executive said that the
Alfred Sant clan had a hold on the way the party was acting and would
do everything possible to rout out any dissidence.
"The way the party is being run, is more akin to a Stalinist regime,
if Sant stays we are doomed and the Nationalist party will be re-elected
And yet none of the national executive members and Labour parliamentarians
are so explicit as to spell out the future to Alfred Sant. The majority
prefer to whisper in the ears of journalists and colleagues.
The only concrete appeal for Sant to step down came from none other
than his 1998 nemesis, Dom Mintoff. Speaking in front of a sparse crowd
at a meeting held in Birgu on Monday, Mintoff ran roughshod over Sants
leadership without mentioning the mans name once.
There is no mistaking the tone of Mintoffs criticism. The Old
Man will continue to create trouble for Sant and the Labour Party. His
criticism rings a bell with die-hard Labourites who cannot stomach a
change of policy on the EU. And with such an attitude Mintoff may pose
to be a nuisance for any new leader the Labour Party may have.